‘Typical West’ Postcard Project

The first of the series.

Inspired by the early twentieth century photographer, Edward Curtis, who skillfully manipulated images that continue to perpetuate romantic illusions of American Indians and the West. Curtis’ photographs, while beautiful, are problematic because of the way they have been presented as historical documentations of the American experience. As suggested by author Vine Deloria Jr., Curtis’ photographs should be viewed more like movie stills than historical events. Through his photographs, Curtis created his own reality, ignoring the present to construct images that fit the way he imagined the past to have been.

Photographs were often sent as postcards to people back East, whose only perceptions of the West became based on these sensationalized images.